This statement outlines how the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) handles and uses personal and health information collected through the People Matter Survey (PMS), including how we protect the anonymity of participants.
Purpose of the survey
The VPSC collects data through the PMS to help improve the working lives of employees, focusing on continuously improving the Victorian public sector to ensure it is equipped to deliver for the Victorian community. The PMS is a key way that the VPSC performs its functions under the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic).
The VPSC is committed to protecting the privacy and anonymity of survey participants and is subject to the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic).
- The VPSC protects the anonymity of participants in the reporting of survey results and findings.
- The VPSC does not provide participants’ individual survey responses to their manager or employer.
- Participants can select “prefer not to say” in response to certain questions about their personal and health information.
- Survey responses are de-identified before the VPSC receives any survey data from the survey provider ORIMA Research — that is, information such as IP address, name or email is not provided to the VPSC.
- Participation in the survey is voluntary.
Personal and health information collected by the survey
The survey collects a range of personal and health information (summarised below). This information is used to find out how different groups of employees view important aspects of their workplace, including equal employment opportunity, discrimination, fair and reasonable treatment, and diversity climate. This information is not used to identify or report on the survey responses of individual participants.
- Age group (in 10-year brackets; e.g. 35 to 44)
- Country of birth
- Whether a language other than English is spoken at home
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status
- Disability status
- LGBTIQ status
- Highest formal qualification
- Former Australian Defence Force service
- Workplace location
- Part-time status
- Salary group (in $10,000 brackets; e.g. $45,000 to $54,999)
- Employment type (e.g. ongoing, fixed term, etc.)
- Flexible working practices
- Manager status
- Occupation and workgroup
Information from the survey is used to:
- provide organisations with survey result reports and benchmarking, so they can identify focus areas, develop action plans and improve how they work
- inform sector- and government-wide strategies and campaigns in response to workforce issues, such as sexual harassment and bullying
- undertake research that benefits organisations and the public sector as a whole
- publicly report on workforce issues
- provide public service departments with data about the performance of their portfolio entities — e.g. health service results are provided to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The VPSC conducts all reporting and research in a way that protects the identity of individual participants. For example:
- Reports for organisations, or groups within organisations, are only provided when there are 10 or more survey responses.
- Voluntary free-text comments are provided to organisations in a separate report, with no other identifying information.
- Data is provided to research partners in accordance with the Acts mentioned above. The VPSC only conducts analysis or releases data to third-party research partners when the identity of individuals is protected.
- The VPSC does not provide individual survey responses to managers or employers.
Secure data collection, storage and management
ORIMA Research provides the VPSC with de-identified survey data — that is, information such as IP address, name or email is not provided.
The VPSC stores the survey data in a secure data centre in Victoria. Access to the survey information is tightly controlled and restricted to nominated personnel.
Accessing personal information
Participants can request access to the information they have provided in the survey by contacting the Privacy Officer at ORIMA Research on 1800 654 585.
Due to the safeguards in place to de-identify data and protect anonymity, it may not be possible in all circumstances to identify an individual’s People Matter Survey response. For example:
- when a participant did not access the survey via a personalised survey link and did not retain his or her survey password
- when the survey data is no longer retained by ORIMA Research (when VPSC has authorised its deletion).
Changing survey information
Participants can access and change their survey responses during the survey period before they “finalise and submit” their response.
After a survey response has been submitted, a survey can only be re-opened if:
- the survey period has not closed
- the participant received a personalised survey invitation link, or the participant has retained his or her survey password.
Freedom of information requests
Find out how you can make a freedom of information request
If you have any questions about the PMS or how data will be handled, please contact the VPSC at:
Phone: (03) 7004 7240 between 9am to 5pm
Version 1.1 (14 February 2020)